UPDATE 3: William Agius may get between four and 20 years – sentence to be handed down today
The Court is expected to hand down the sentence against William Agius this afternoon at 2.00 p.m. Agius will know what the future holds for him after it was decided that he would undergo trial by jury as he admitted to the charges.
Agius had been expected to undergo trial by jury on charges of having been in possession of 2,043 ecstasy pills on 26 November 2004, and of association and trafficking of the same drug, which had a market value of just under 21,000 euro. Agius had been arrested when he was aged 18, and had been caught with the drugs in the parking area close to St Sebastian church and Qormi primary school.
William Agius concludes Caritas programme successfully
It was stated before Mr Justice Antonio Mizzi that William Agius had participated in the Caritas programme between 2006 and 2008, and had graduated successfully in 2008. To this day Agius has been free of drugs.
“William is an inspiration to those who are going through drug problems”
Dr Joe Giglio presented a letter and a certificate in Court showing that accused had concluded the drug rehabilitation course. Witnesses who gave evience included Caritas Manager Santina Camilleri, who stated she knew the accused, and had followed his progress after he had successfully concluded the course. Camilleri added that after concluding the course, Agius always remained active in Caritas, by sharing his experiences with others at Caritas. Camilleri further stated that Agius continued to make a contribution and hold out hope to others with drug problems, adding that William was an inspiration to them.
“William showed genuine motivation”
Replying to a question from the Bench, Camilleri stated that William continued to provide urine samples, from which it resulted that he was free of drugs.
Psychotherapist Mariella Dimech also testified that she had coordinated the Caritas programme during William’s time there. She explained that when William had joined, he was just like a young child, and had not understood the seriousness of drugs. She further stated that when Agius joined the Caritas programme, they had been very strict with him, and on his part he had shown genuine motivation.
The psychotherapist added that with his family’s support he realized what he had been doing, and had taken the programme very seriously. She further stated that today William is living a normal life and is in a relationship, and has succeeded in his dream of owning a restaurant and having his own staff.
“William supported me enormously… I look on him as a brother”
Another person who gave evidence, Christopher Azzopardi, knows William at his workplace. Azzopardi stated that he had a drug problem, and was scared of the programme, adding that William had convinced him to attend and had been very supportive. Azzopardi described William as his brother.
“William can make a great contribution”
Peppi Azzoprdi, who also gave evidence, stated that he had met with William years ago, and added that when he saw him, he realized that he was at peace. Azzopardi reiterated that William always thought of others and could contribute a lot to society, which contribution would be lost if he ended up in prison.
Defence says it understands the Court’s hands are tied, but asks for minimum sentence
Addressing the court, Dr Joe Giglio who is appearing for William, stated that a long time has passed for the case to be heard, but this was not because of the Criminal Court. Dr Giglio said the compilation had ended in 2010, but preliminary exceptions had been contested. The lawyer explained that William had criticized a law which has since been changed, which was why the Court had appointed the case for this year.
Dr Giglio described William as a catalyst who changed his life and the lives of others. He added that William had understood the seriousness of his actions and had cooperated with the Police. Whilst stating that Defence understood the Court’s hands were tied in regard to handing down an effective prison sentence, he requested the Court to consider handing down a sentence close to the minimum.
Dr Giglio said the case had occurred when William was still a child and had been used by others. He reminded that although the case had occurred near a school, the school had been closed.
Prosecutor Giannella Busuttil
Dr Giannella Busuttil, prosecutting, said she was not contesting that Agius had reformed himself and followed a programme.
Dr Busuttil added that the law should be applied as in all other cases, and reminded that another 22-year-old person had been arraigned in Court. Dr Busuttil said these persons were aware of their actions since they were in possession of 2,043 ecstasy pills.
Dr Busuttil agreed that the sentence should be reduced by two grades as Agius had cooperated, but it should be incrreased by one grade as the case had occurred 100 metres away from a school. The case had occurred on a Friday, and the law does not differentiate between days and times.
Dr Busuttil said accused could have admitted earlier, but he had every right to choose to present exceptions in 2010. After the compilation, accused had filed a number of pleas and had instituted a Constitutional case which he eventually lost, for the trial to be appointed for this day.
Regarding potential damage which could have resulted, Dr Busuttil said over 2,000 ecstasy pills were involved, and had Agius not been arrested, the drugs would have ended up among society.
With regard to punishment, the law stipulates that if found guilty, accused can be handed down a maximum of a life sentence. The Court, however, can consider varying the penalty between four and 20 years.